Jim Chaney and Sam Pittman were essentially a package deal when they came to Georgia for Kirby Smart’s first staff.
Chaney is on his way to Knoxville to shape Jeremy Pruitt’s offensive game plans but he looks to be going solo this time. Pittman is not expected to leave to coach the offensive line at Tennessee.
The same can be said in regard to Alabama’s interest in him as well.
A source close to that situation has told DawgNation that Pittman plans to return as offensive line coach for the 2019 season.
It is not yet known what level of a financial package the Bulldogs might have offered to Pittman to ensure he remained with the team.
The Georgia program has seen significant turnover among its personnel and coaching staff over the last few weeks. Pittman’s return will help stabilize the offense.
He should be seen as vital for what head coach Kirby Smart continues to build in Athens. Pittman has led the recruiting charge for top-tier offensive line prospects that few peers can match in modern recruiting history.
Clay Webb, a 5-star signee in 2019, is a good example of how Pittman’s unique methods serve Georgia well. Webb was the top-rated prospect in the state of Alabama this year, but despite heavy interest from Alabama, Auburn and even Clemson he came to Georgia because he wanted to play for Pittman.
That’s just one example.
Let’s look at Pittman’s results for Georgia when it comes to elite prospects on the recruiting trail.
- 2019: Signed the nation’s No. 1 center, the nation’s No. 15 OT and the nation’s No. 22 OT
- 2018: Signed the nation’s No. 1 OG, the nation’s No. 3 OG, the nation’s No. 3 OT, the nation’s No. 5 center and the nation’s No. 32 OT.
- 2017: Signed the nation’s No. 5 OT, the nation’s No. 9 OT, the nation’s No. 20 OT, the nation’s No. 6 OG, the nation’s No. 2 junior college OT and the nation’s No. 23 OG.
That is what Pittman has done for the Bulldogs over his first three full recruiting cycles.
That potential has carried over to the field. Check out the accolades earned by Pittman’s charges over the last three seasons:
- The 2018 offensive line was a finalist for the Joe Moore Award. That honor is given to the top offensive line unit in college football.
- True freshman Cade Mays and redshirt freshman Isaiah Wilson were both named to the 2018 Football Writers Association All-Freshman Team.
- Despite less than ideal size, Wynn was selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots with the 23rd overall selection.
- Isaiah Wynn was named to the 2017 Associated Press All-America second team and the American Football Coaches Association All-America second team. He also earned the AP and Coaches All-SEC first team honors.
- Sophomore OT Andrew Thomas was named to the 2018 SI.com All-America first team and the 2018 Associated Press and Walter Camp All-America second team. He was also named to the 2018 Coaches All-SEC first team and the Associated Press All-SEC second team.
- Thomas was also named to Freshman All-America teams by ESPN, The Football Writers Association of America and USA Today after the 2017 season.
Pittman was hired by UGA on Dec. 12, 2015. That was after serving three years at Arkansas as offensive line coach, associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.
When he left Arkansas, his players came to his home in order to try to convince him to stay as that news was breaking.
College football can be a cold-hearted business at times, but that’s how beloved Pittman was by his guys.
The Sam Pittman effect in recruiting for Georgia
His UGA staff bio cites that he is “widely regarded among the nation’s best offensive line coaches and recruiters” but that may, in fact, be an understatement.
Pittman’s work has been noticed by pro football. He’s seen eight of his offensive lineman drafted by NFL teams, including two first-round picks. Since 2013, eight offensive linemen coached by Pittman have been drafted, including two first-round picks, and three others have signed free agent contracts.
DawgNation recently looked at what Pittman has done for Georgia and compared it to the way the Bulldogs recruited offensive linemen prior to his arrival.
For the purposes of this study, data was culled from the 247Sports online database for the 2002-2015 recruiting classes and then 2016-2018. Records are not available online to study Mark Richt’s first recruiting class in 2001.
- During the 14 listed recruiting classes of the Mark Richt era, the program signed 12 Top 10 offensive line recruits on the 247Sports Composite.
- Smart’s classes have signed 10 such recruits in his first four cycles. (Keep in mind that Smart and his staff had barely two months to recruit his first class back in 2016.)
- Pittman and Smart have signed nine prospects which rated as top 10 recruits at their position on the offensive line in just the 2017, 2018 and 2019 cycles.
- From 2002-2015, the Bulldogs signed 22 total offensive line prospects with a rating of 4-stars or better on the 247Sports composite standard.
- This staff has now signed 12 OLs who had a composite rating of 4-stars or better since 2016.
- John Theus was the only 5-star OL recruit of the Mark Richt era. Georgia has already signed a quartet of 5-stars in Clay Webb (2019), Cade Mays (2018), Jamaree Salyer (2018) and Isaiah Wilson (2017) so far with Pittman.